But we value animals as individuals,nnot generically, and we value them fornwhat they do for us. Dr. Young believes,nfor instance, that Southernersnare relatively more likely to judge dogsnon their performance rather than theirnbreeding. Johnny Cash doesn’t seem toncare about the pedigree of his eggsuckingnhound, and in “The Bear”nFaulkner celebrates the bravery of anlittle mixed-breed dog, a “fice.” (Isn”fice” the origin of “feisty,” I wonder?)nA life of loyal service can elicitngenuine affection. Dr. Young writesnthat, “while expressing indifference ornincredulity toward the idea of ‘loving’nanimals, many Southerners formnstrong affectional attachments to individualnanimals.” These attachments,nthough based on usefulness, can outlivenit. (“Once unable to work, [workingndogs] still retain a special statusnwithin the household.”) But even thenbest good old dog may not get in thenhouse. (“The key elements of companionnanimal status are frequentlynfulfilled without inside residence fornthe animal.”) We may address our dogsnas fondly as our children, in othernwords, but we don’t say the samenthings to them. They’re animals, afternall, and Southern pets know theirnplace.nLook, Southerners have alwaysndrawn sharp lines between categories.nAll traditional cultures do. Black andnwhite, male and female, saved andnunsaved, Southerner and Yankee,n”quality” and trash, human and beastn— we’ve insisted on these distinctions,nGod-given or otherwise. We’ve evenngloried in them. We’ve tempered ournboundary-drawing with a pervasivenparticularism that recognizes considerablenvariation within categories, but wenhaven’t been comfortable with ambiguity.nObviously we’ve overdone it sometimes.nLearning to live with fuzzy andnambiguous distinctions is what culturalnmodernization is all about. That’snprobably inevitable, in many respectsneven desirable, and it’s certainly wellnunderway in the South. But RichardnWeaver was voicing an ancient Southernnsuspicion when he wrote in “LifenWithout Prejudice” that hostility tonsociety’s distinctions often masks hostilitynto society itself, that confusion ofnroles and loss of differentiation is exact­nly the meaning of societal collapse. Wenneed to take those warnings to heart,nand to insist on necessary distinctionsnwhen they are in fact necessary.nIf my description of the place of petsnin the Southern household sounds likenDriving Miss Daisy, it’s no accident.nJust as racial paternalism is gone withnthe wind, so in time Southerners mayncome to believe that animals don’t existnprimarily in relation to us. Hell, ournevolving cosmic consciousness maynlead us to understand the essentialnoneness of Being, as we say in California.nWe may come to view “Old Shep”nas this century’s “Old Black Joe.” Butnthat time isn’t yet. And if that analogynoffends you, you must agree.nSome of John Shelton Reed’s bestnfriends are animals. In fact, henrecently had a baby donkey namednafter him. Donkey ]ohn S. Reed (J.R.nfor short) and mother Peaches arenboth doing well.nLetter From Parisnby Curtis CatenThere’s No Stopping ProgressnThe recent war in the Persian Gulf hasnat least had the merit of dissipating onenor two myths, even if it has also helpednto generate new mirages.nOne of the most pernicious of thesenmyths was the belief, shared by France’snformer defense minister, Jean-PierrenChevenement, and other members ofnthe Franco-Iraqi Friendship Associationnof which he was the vice-president, thatnSaddam Hussein’s Iraq was a trulyn”progressive” country. Not only becausenSaddam Hussein and his valiantncountrymen were protecting other Arabncountries from being overrun by thenfanatical Islamic hordes of AyatoUahnKhomeini’s Iran, but because—as anyonenwho visited Baghdad could see withnhis or her own eyes — in Iraq womennwere no longer veiled.nThis particular myth was splendidlynpunctured last February in a devastatingnarticle written for Le Figaro by one ofnits correspondents, Patrick de Saint-nExupery. After ten days in Iraq, duringnwhich he kept his eyes as well as hisnears fully open, he was flabbergasted bynnnthe astonishing backwardness of thencountry beyond the suburbs of Baghdad.nNotwithstanding their sun-blessedn(or sun-cursed) land’s enormous naturalnadvantage in being irrigated by twonimportant rivers, the Tigris and thenEuphrates, the Iraqis, he discovered,nwere “a poor people, so poor thatnnearby Jordan, bereft of all resources,nappears rich and opulent in comparison.”nMost of the fertile lands arenfallow. An agricultural plan wasnindeed launched in 1975, but itnremained a dead letter and wasnput into effect only after thenstart of the embargo. Today thenirrigation canals, most of themndug since August 2, havenremained in the blueprint stagenand lead nowhere. Here andnthere greenhouse plantations risenfrom the level plain, but thenfurrows left by plows arenvirtually nonexistent. In villagesnfar removed from the displaywindowncity of Baghdad there isnstill no running water ornelectricity. The highway alone isntarred; most of the alleywaysnand even the streets are stinkingnmud-holes bordered by rusticnhouses.nWhile visiting a cheapnapartment block, “built by thengovernment” near the oil depotsnof Nassiriyah . . . one thingnleapt to the eye: the houses hadnbeen built next to a pestilentialnsalty marsh, and it required realneffort to imagine anyone beingnable to live there.nEven in Baghdad he was amazed by thenwretchedness of ordinary habitationsnonce he left the areas dominated bynultramodern hotels, ministries, and luxuriousnapartment buildings. Invited by anfriendly official from the Ministry ofnInformation to share a cup of coffee innhis home, Saint-Exupery was appallednby the leprous state of the walls, by thenrickety condition of the fiimiture, onlynfifteen years old, and dumbfounded tonfind that the kitchen, though it had anrefrigerator, contained no stove but onlyna small Butagaz burner.nToday, thanks to the blaze of publicitynsuddenly focused on Iraq, we knownthe reason for this poverty and squalor.nSaddam Hussein’s Iraq was little morenJULY 1991/45n